Podcast Whole Child Podcast

How Can We Make Our Schools Safer?

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Safety is and will always be a fundamental concern for schools. Students who aren't or don't feel safe at school cannot learn, and schools must ensure that their environments are both secure and supportive. The current debate on school safety brings with it a renewed interest in addressing safety, school climate, and mental health concerns at schools and promises to improve school policy and practice.

Yet while the current debate has engaged the nation in community-wide discussions, it also has the potential to overlook the voices of educators. In this episode of the Whole Child Podcast, host Sean Slade and guests discuss what we, as educators, believe is crucial to making our schools safe—not just physically safe, but safe places to teach and learn. You'll hear from

  • Joseph Bergant II, superintendent of Chardon Schools in Ohio;
  • Howard Adelman, professor of psychology at UCLA and codirector of the School Mental Health Project and the Center for Mental Health in Schools (a whole child partner); and
  • Jonathan Cohen, adjunct professor in psychology and education at Teachers College, Columbia University, and president and cofounder of whole child partner National School Climate Center.

What is required for students and adults to feel socially, emotionally, and physically safe in school? What two or three things are fundamental to achieving safety in school?

Comments (2)

Cara Riggs

April 1, 2013

I believe, fundamentally, that the engagement and re-engagement of kids in school has everything to do with the climate of school.  With powerful adult-student relationships, and unique programming that allows kids to feel valued, respected and hopeful, students want to go to school.  We have done that at our school.  Our enrollment has increased from 1600 to 2300 in the last five years.
Cara Riggs
Principal- Omaha South High Magnet School
Author of Hope in the Urban Schools: Love Stories

Shoshannah Atwell

October 13, 2014

Today communication in daily student life is far more a part of their learning, and accelerated with high expectations.  This needs to be supported with a keener recognition of the responsibility we are using by all levels.  Going in, support tiers MUST be transparent to all individuals; teachers, students, parents, authority, and advocates, and thus leaders.  It is not just about preventing dangers, but being also very inclusive of goals and positive outcomes.  Being engaged requires all to want be informed, and how all may find answers when changes occur.  Consistency is only successful when it is a simple process.

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